Search over three decades of research on mindsets, including Mindset Scholars Network briefs and working papers, and other publications from Network studies and initiatives.
Women and African Americans—groups targeted by negative stereotypes about their intellectual abilities—may be underrepresented in careers that prize brilliance and genius. A recent nationwide survey of academics provided initial support for this possibility. Fields whose practitioners believed that natural talent is crucial for success had fewer female and African American PhDs. The present study seeks to replicate this initial finding with a different, and arguably more naturalistic, measure of the extent to which brilliance and genius are prized within a field. The study found that fields in which the words “brilliant” and “genius” were used more frequently on RateMyProfessors.com also had fewer female and African American PhDs. The fact that this naturalistic measure of a field’s focus on brilliance predicted the magnitude of its gender and race gaps speaks to the tight link between ability beliefs and diversity.